Rangers bound to lose Alex Georgiev or a good forward in 2021 Seattle Expansion draft

One of the big issues about doing the draft in June before the season has been either cancelled or concluded is how it hurts GM maneuverability with trades. This summer was a big one for GM Jeff Gorton and the Rangers. He has a host of RFA’s to make decisions on and the possible future of Henrik Lundqvist on his hands. Regardless of what the rules will be for this draft on trades, I am pretty sure moving roster players is not going to be possible.

Understanding the Expansion Rules

In a nutshell here is what you need to know from a Rangers perspective:

  • The NYR can protect up to 7 forwards, 3 defensemen, and 1 goaltender (teams can also choose to protect 9 at any position)
  • If a player has a no-move/trade clauses they must be protected (unless they agree to waive it)
  • If a player has 2 years or less experience in the AHL or NHL they are automatically exempt.
  • The Rangers must expose players who meet certain criteria. There must be at least one defensemen and two forwards who are under contract for 2021-22 and played at least 40 NHL games in 2020-21 or 70 NHL games total since the start of 2019-20.
  • The Rangers must also expose a goaltender who is either under contract for the 2021-22 season or about to enter restricted free agency.

*Second City Hockey used as reference for rules.

Who is Protected?

Kakko needs to shoot more (Jared Silber / Getty Images)

I doubt the Rangers will only protect 9 players regardless of position. The good news is they won’t have to worry about losing the following players due to the 2 year rule. There are others but these are the obvious exempt ones:

  • Kaapo Kakko
  • Igor Shesterkin
  • Vitali Kravtsov
  • Adam Fox

Additionally, due to clauses in their deals these players will be automatically protected:

  • Artemi Panarin
  • Jacob Trouba
  • Chris Kreider

What Will the Rangers Do?

The Rangers are very likely going with the 7-3-1 protection plan. Now, assumptions need to be made that 4 RFA’s (Strome, DeAngelo, Lemieux, Georgiev) will be signed and Jesper Fast will be lost to free agency. Here is my projected list.

Forwards: Panarin (NMC), Kreider (NMC), Zibanejad, Strome, Chytil, Buchnevich, Lemieux

Defense: Trouba (NMC), DeAngelo, Lindgren

Goal: Georgiev (If they can sign or trade for a goalie to expose)

Who Will They Lose?

You will obviously note that players like Henrik Lundqvist, Marc Staal, and Brendan Smith are not mentioned. That is because all three will have their contracts expired by 2021. I also believe, Jeff Gorton will have a goalie he can expose to protect Georgiev but he is at risk.

If you look at the roster, the most obvious candidate the Rangers could lose are either Brett Howden or Julien Gauthier. Also the Rangers could expose Lias Andersson if he is still on the roster, but unless he plays in the NHL next year Seattle will be looking at Howden. Another remote possibility is a player like Libor Hajek who has had difficulty cracking the Rangers lineup.

So when it comes to 2021 and it is time for Seattle to pick a player from the Rangers, it is my best guess that Brett Howden will be wearing a Kraken or Sasquatch jersey that season.

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